Latics defeated at Etihad Stadium as Aguero hat-trick inspires City
MANCHESTER CITY 3
Aguero 13, 63, 69
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
By Iain McMullen
A Sergio Aguero hat-trick left Latics reeling today as they suffered a disappointing 3-0 defeat to title-chasing Manchester City.
Roberto Martinez's men travelled to the Etihad Stadium full of confidence, after a strong start to the season saw them unbeaten in the opening three fixtures.
The manager made one change to the side that had beaten QPR two weeks previous, introducing James McArthur to the midfield in place of Jordi Gomez.
He also named new signing Albert Crusat on the bench.
The early exchanges saw the home side quickly find their rhythm, producing some of the free-flowing football that has seen them become serious challengers to Manchester United's crown.
David Silva was the key man in the City midfield as the gifted playmaker moved the ball about the pitch with consummate ease.
At times Latics saw little of the ball, but they kept their shape well and forced the home side into some patient build-up play as they looked for a way through a solid backline, expertly marshalled by skipper Gary Caldwell.
Ali Al Habsi was forced into a smart save in the tenth minute when the dangerous Silva tried his luck from the edge of the area, only for the Omani international to prove up to the task.
Moments later however, the deadlock was broken as Sergio Aguero finished with aplomb after a dazzling move between Carlos Tevez and David Silva.
The goal seemed to rock Latics momentarily, but they soon settled and started to push forward themselves looking for a way back into the game.
Just when it looked as if the storm had been weathered however, David Silva burst into the area and was upended by Adrian Lopez, giving the referee no option but to point to the spot.
Tevez stepped up to take the penalty but was denied by a magnificent save again from Al Habsi, who managed to get a hand to the Argentinian's weak effort.
The home side were guilty of wasting a host of chances before the break and we're almost punished when Franco Di Santo brought a good save out of Joe Hart.
The second half began well for Latics, who came out on the offensive with some positive attacking play.
The away side were finding more success with the ball and there were a few murmurs of frustration beginning to spread around the packed stadium.
Ben Watson was a growing influence in midfield as Latics played the ball around with some new-found composure and zeal.
Hugo Rodallega almost grabbed a spectacular equaliser in the 57th minute after Moses cut inside to play a wonderful pass to the Colombian which he latched onto on the edge of the area.
He unleashed a fierce shot which stung the hands of Hart in the City goal and the England international was relieved to see the ball squirm away for a corner.
Minutes later however, the visitors found themselves two goals down when a smart move between Silva and substitute Samir Nasri, left Sergio Aguero to slot calmly past Al Habsi.
Latics were left shell-shocked and moments later the game was all over as a contest, when the lethal forward broke free to stroke the ball into the back of the net fto complete his hat-trick.
The team had performed admirably until then but were blown away by a devastating ten minute spell from their hosts.
Aguero was the goalscorer but it was the midfield magician Silva pulling the strings.
The closing minutes of the match saw Latics battle well but to no avail, as they failed to breech a strong Manchester City back line.
Hart; Richards, Clichy, Kompany, Lescott, Yaya Toure (Razak, 79), Johnson, Milner, Silva, Aguero (Balotelli, 71) , Tevez (Nasri, 63)
Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kolo Toure, Dzeko
Al Habsi; Boyce (Stam, 59), Caldwell, Lopez, Figueroa, Diame, Watson (Crusat, 69), Moses, McArthur, Di Santo (Gomez 69), Rodallega
Kirkland; McCarthy, Sammon, Jones